Sunday, May 31, 2015

I am one of the "antisocial seven!"


I am a member of the "antisocial seven" who were recently labeled as troublemakers in the astronomy community. If the "social" in antisocial refers to the current culture and societal structure of astro/physics, then I am most definitely anti. I stand opposed to the deeply harmful way we, as a community of scientists, treat each other, marginalize minorities of all kinds, and in so doing stifle our full scientific and intellectual potential.

Academia and science in particular were built upon and still rest on a cartel framework, in which a minority group (namely white men) have banded together to artificially raise the value of their intellectual contributions, while excluding women and men of color, LGBTQI individuals, white women, and the physically disabled and those with cognitive disabilities (or differences). This cartel system has been hugely beneficial to white men, whose portraits adorn our hallways and buildings.


To be sure, they were given huge advantages, and many of them made the most of their starting conditions. This is not to discredit or minimize their work. But I do want to raise awareness that their opportunities were not universal, and we are far from realizing equal opportunity and social justice within the sciences, astronomy in particular.

I will push for equal opportunities. I will agitate for justice and corrections for past wrongs. I will be loud and not always polite. I am antisocial and proud of it! I now wear it as a badge of pride in my profile pic. Feel free to take it and wear it yourself. Let's tear down the current structures that serve as barriers, establish the first, true meritocracy in science, and in the process learn more about the Universe than we ever previously imagined.

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